Behavioural Analysis of Crime Studies in David Canter's Investigative Psychology
The intense interest in 'offender profiling' generated by FBI special agents, gave rise to an explosion of studies in a new area called ’investigative psychology’ by its originator David Canter. This develops understanding of offenders' behaviour that can be harnessed to improve investigations. In this rapidly developing area much has been learnt about what offenders reveal about themselves through their styles of offending. Beyond criminals’ actions the location of their crimes can also reveal where the offender lives or which offences can be linked as part of the same series. Investigative psychologists also explore how to interview witnesses and suspects and assess the veracity of accounts given. The variation in criminal style across crimes as diverse as arson, burglary, hostage negotiation, serial killing and sexual assault is reviewed, using narrative theory and criminals’ emotional experience when offending as the basis for explaining these variations. This provides a framework for drawing inferences about offenders' characteristics. Studies in investigative psychology require a special methodology, developed by David Canter to allow scientific explorations in such a challenging field, previously assumed not to be open empirical study. The practical potential and applications of the research are given, as well as a selection of commentaries on the cutting edge debates that are driving the future of the investigative psychology. This new discipline is of relevance to forensic psychologists in many different settings, criminologists and law enforcement agencies, bringing together work that lays out current achievements and sets the agenda for future research in the field.
'... Youngs has edited a collection of clear, concise studies situating Investigative Psychology as a field of applied research making groundbreaking contributions to the study of crime and criminal behavior.' International Criminal Justice Review ’I enthusiastically recommend this discussion of the science, philosophy and style of behavioral analysis pioneered by the unique vision and drive of David Canter and Donna Youngs, herself. In particular, I have found their concept of narrative identity and "personal myth" as it relates to criminal behavior extremely useful in defining the underlying principles to what I actually do in my own work every day.’ Kathleen M. Puckett, former FBI Special Agent, TK Associates, LLC, USA